A new generation of ‘hyper’ satellites to prevent a climate catastrophe – Deutsche Welle

A new generation of ‘hyper’ satellites to prevent a climate catastrophe – Deutsche Welle

For more than three decades, space agencies like NASA and ESA have been observing Earth from space and monitoring weather patterns and the global climate.

The most comprehensive European Earth observation program, Copernicus, includes a satellite fleet operated by ESA. Its Sentinel satellites are monitoring Earth’s environment, including CO2 levels in the atmosphere, rising sea levels, floods, earthquakes, and rising global temperatures. 

However, one of the upcoming satellite missions presented at the Space Expo, called the Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program (EnMap), is promising an even greater potential when it comes to observing Earth from above. Developed by the German satellite manufacturer OHB , the mission is managed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Read more: July 2019 was world’s hottest month ever recorded

EnMap uses a high-resolution hyperspectral sensor technology to monitor Earth’s ecosystem. It’s designed to serve as a successor to the current multispectral technology that has far lower resolution, and limited possibilities in capturing images. 

Satellite picture of a forest fire in Greece. (picture-alliance/dpa/Sentinel Hub/Copernicus)

Sentinel captured these forest fires in Greece — EnMap will also be able to detect particles on the surface

The new satellite captures much more than what is visible to the naked eye. Satellite imagery also contains physical evidence about minerals and other materials on the surface, and enables scientists to draw conclusions about any potential change that may have occurred.

For example, if the ocean’s surface contains microplastics, a hyperspectral satellite can detect evidence